A cameraman works at the 26th AU summit in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, on Jan. 30, 2016. The 26th ordinary session of the African Union (AU) heads of states and governments kicks off on Saturday at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa. (Xinhua/Pan Siwei)
A cameraman works at the 26th AU summit in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, on Jan. 30, 2016. The 26th ordinary session of the African Union (AU) heads of states and governments kicks off on Saturday at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa. (Xinhua/Pan Siwei)

Media practitioners have been challenged to report on the mechanisms, declarations, protocols, charters, and instruments of the African Union (AU), to enable the citizenry to be abreast with its activities.

The body has established many charters aimed at enhancing democracy and human rights of Africans but most people have little idea about these.

Professor Kwame Karikari, Dean of the School of Communication Studies at Wisconsin University, said this at a two-day training for selected media practitioners across the country to enable them to report on a three year project on the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance (ACDEG) and African Governance Architecture (AGA) in Accra.

The project, which is being funded by the European Union and implemented by institutions, including Action Aid Ghana and Media Foundation for Africa, also seeks to empower women and the youth to participate effectively in local governance.

Prof Karikari said, “When it comes to our media in Africa and their coverage on African regional organisations such as AU and ECOWAS it is weak. They have provided very little information on AU but I don’t blame them too much because the institution itself has not made it a priority to disseminate its day-to-day activities, charters on good governance, democracy and human rights.

While laying a large measure of the blame at the doorstep of these regional bodies especially the AU for not providing the needed information to media to educate the public, he urged the media to strive hard to find information and accurately report on some of the significant charters.

“Media have the difficulty in accessing information on the body and these are the things the AU must strategically focus on doing,” Prof. Karikari added.

He recommended that for the start, the media could pick-up the charters on human and people’s rights, elections and governance and educate the citizenry.

“This is very important for every African citizen to know and take seriously especially the African Commission on Human People Right institution that promote and protect the human right of African people.

“The other I can readily talk about is the African Court, luckily Ghana has ratified the protocol and made a declaration and this means any civil society and individuals can take any case of the human right to the court and these institutions must be well known to citizens,” he emphasized.

Prof. Karikari applauded the government for being among the first eight countries to make the declaration to enable individuals and non-governmental organisations to enhance the right of citizens and democracy in the country.

He cited the recent incidence where Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome proceeded to the African Human Rights Court when the government decided to sell his properties as a way of retrieving monies paid to him in the name of the judgment debt.

Over the two-day period, participants were schooled on some thematic areas, including the AU organization, the AGA and ACDEG and ethical issues in advocacy campaigns for right promotion.

GNA

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